Every year we get asked about having holiday meals with your omnivore family when you are vegan. Generally speaking, vegans are very polite and caring people who don't' want to hurt anyone's feelings. They also can't eat animal products just to make things easy on everyone. So how do you handle it? Vegans and Omnivores at Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving dinner is possible. Here are our suggestions.
1. The easiest way to make Holiday's easier starts much earlier in the year. It may be too late for this tip right now, but consider it for next year. Don't hide that you are vegan. Be proud of it. Make sure all of your friends and family know you don't eat animal products and that you are a strict vegetarian. This will remove any shock factor when the holiday meal planning arrives.
2. Once you know where you will be having your holiday dinner, reach out to the host immediately. If it's Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas dinner, make the call. Let them know you are excited to be joining them, that you are vegan, and you don't want them to stress out about pleasing you. Offer to make all of your food if necessary, or share with them a couple of vegan dishes they can make that everyone will love. Even the meat eaters.
3. Know in advance what vegan holiday recipes will blow even omnivores away. If you have already cooked them for your omnivore friends, then you will know everyone at holiday meal time will love them. Make sure your host knows this too. Tell him or her the vegan recipes you are sharing with them are amazing and will blow everyone away. This could be vegan mashed potatoes, vegan casseroles, or other delicious vegan holiday recipes. If your host knows they can just make one dish for everyone that will be delicious, they will be excited to cook it.
4. Bring a couple of your own vegan holiday recipes as well. Your host will be happy you did and it will give you even more food to eat. A good idea is to make a vegan dessert. Don't ask your host to make a vegan dessert for you. Let them make their own favorite holiday desserts and you bring your favorite as well. When it's sitting next to the others, no one will care it's vegan. It's one of the best ways to contribute to the Christmas meal or Thanksgiving meal.
5. Forget about meat. Now this is just a suggestion, but I have found it just makes things awkward to worry about ‘meat'. You may get a different result and by all means do what you think is best. The years I have brought my vegan roast to an omnivore holiday dinner it just caused all kinds of questions, jokes, and uncomfortable conversations. Holiday time is about enjoying each others company, not everyone interrogating you about your holiday roast. We just plan on eating tons of delicious vegan sides and desserts. No muss and no fuss.
These are just suggestions from our experience as vegans over the years trying to enjoy a nice holiday meal with our omnivore family. Everyone is different so adjust these suggestions to suit you. I would say having a lot of amazing vegan holiday recipes you know will be amazing already in your recipe list is the main key. Do that and everything else is easy.
Happy Vegan Holidays! And Happy New Year!